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Portrait Lighting: Should You Face The Key Light Or Face Away?

How the subject is positioned relative to the key light makes a huge impact on the look of a portrait
How you position a portrait subject in relation to the key light makes a huge impact on the picture. It’s how you create precise lighting, based on tried-and-true lighting patterns that have helped faces look their best for generations. But along with these various subtleties of portrait lighting comes a more fundamental choice: Should you face your... Read more

Shooting Selfies And Self-Portraits

You don’t have to rely on the latest tech to shoot inventive selfies
In the February 3, 2014, edition of New York magazine, Jerry Saltz, the publication’s insightful and prolific fine-art critic, ran a compelling article titled “Art at Arm’s Length: A History of the Selfie.” In it, the critic presents four points on what these days seem to be everyone’s favorite pastime. I found many aspects of this article... Read more

Five Photoshop Hidden Gems

These simple and effective Photoshop controls may not be flashy, but they’re a great way to make editing easier, better and generally more efficient
Five Photoshop Hidden Gems
When you’re new to Photoshop, it’s easy to feel like there’s a never-ending list of things to learn and that it’s going to be impossible to learn them all. That daunting truth is also the beauty of such a robust application: There are always additional secrets to discover. And after 25 years of using the application, I still regularly learn... Read more
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Portrait Color Management

Photographers generally get three chances to ensure their portraits have beautiful color: Create accurate white balance, be deliberate about lighting and bring it all together in post
Portrait Color Management
Accurate color management is crucial for ensuring portrait subjects look their best, highlighting beautiful hair and lovely skin tones. Color is simple, right? For many shots, as long as the white balance is somewhat close to correct, your picture will be fine, right? Well, not necessarily, especially when it comes to portraits. What might pass as good... Read more

Tethering A Sony a7R III

How to ensure smooth and seamless shooting with a Sony a7R III connected to a computer
Not long ago, I purchased a Sony a7R III mirrorless camera. And while so much of its tremendous functionality comes easily, it took me a bit to determine the best, easiest and most functional approach to using the a7R III for tethered capture. After a bit of trial and error, I honed in on my preferred approach. And now I find it to be more reliable... Read more

Add A Fill Light At The Camera

The on-axis fill light adds more than shadow detail. It also increases nuance and production value in portraits of all kinds.
When, as a young photographer, I was taught the secrets of portraiture by working shooters, their approach to fill light was simple: Place a reflector—either white or silver or sometimes even gold—opposite the key light to illuminate the shadows. This works, sure, and it works well. But, done poorly, it has some issues. First of all, with the fill... Read more

4 Tips For Portraits On The Run

How to create simple, effective travel portraits
“Okay, this is perfect,” I explain to my workshop group under the blazing Namibian sun. “Let’s ask the woman to stand in the doorway of this hut. The roof will provide covered shade, and the interior will be completely black.” We are visiting a Himba village in Namibia near the Angolan border. Our guide has arranged a visit to a tribe that... Read more

Lighting Studio On The Go

Go mobile by building a rolling studio lighting kit
For photographers who like total control over their lighting, there’s nothing better than studio-style strobes. They provide power and versatility, with an abundance of easily adjustable light modifiers readily available. But while they may be the ultimate photographic lighting tools, they’re also kind of cumbersome and they’re not particularly... Read more

How To Digitize Film Without A Scanner

Get better quality, and do it faster and easier, by shooting negatives and transparencies with a camera and film-digitizing adapter
How To Digitize Film Without A Scanner
Scanning film is tedious, time-consuming and expensive, and the results don’t always seem worth the effort. But since most photographers these days are armed with high-resolution digital cameras, that opens up a faster, easier and more affordable option to digitize film—and the results are outstanding. It’s the Nikon ES-2 Film Digitizing Adapter,... Read more

Guide To Focus Stacking

Use this technique to gain better control of your photograph’s focus
Today’s cameras are impressive in how accurately they can autofocus: Look how deftly my camera locked focus on the subject’s face in a moving car as I panned and while the primary subject zoomed through the frame. But even today’s cameras can have trouble focusing in some situations, and that’s where focus stacking can help. The companies that... Read more
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